Connecticut Families

'Death In The Ice': Fascinating exhibit at Mystic Seaport Museum provides life lessons

MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH) - Get out of the house this winter and take a trip to the new exhibit at Mystic Seaport Museum detailing a fascinating mystery.  It's also a great learning opportunity for older kids.

Death In The Ice tells the story of Sir John Franklin's travels in 1845 to discover the Northwest passage over the top of North America to Asia.  Two ships are lost in the Arctic ice.  "It remains a mystery for 170 years," says Nicholas Bell.

But, five years ago, the first ship - Erebus - was discovered on the ocean floor.  Two years after that, the second ship - Terror - was found.  "Now, we are getting new answers to what happened to Franklin and his men," says Bell.

Evidence shows some were stranded for more than two years.  All 129 men died...never rescued.  The display, housed in the Mystic Seaport Museum's Thompson Exhibition Building, includes actual items, never before seen in the United States, brought up from the wrecks.  "The very first artifact raised was the bell," says Bell.  Other relics were found in the ice by Inuits and other explorers.

"There are surprising Connecticut aspects to this story," says Bell.  The crew aboard Terror actually attacked Stonington during the War of 1812. 

Seeing the exhibit is an eye-opening experience for older kids.  "There's so much to learn here about what to do in the world how to adapt to a new environment... and what not to do," says Bell who says it's also interesting to study the collaboration between culture. 

So, study-up on a historic event...that's relevant today.  "This exhibition is the perfect solution for cabin fever," says Bell.  "It's a way to escape into the past but also learn about today."

The exhibit is open seven days a week this winter.  Other parts of the museum are open Thursdays through Sundays when there are also free planetarium shows that tie-into Death In The Ice.

Click here for more information.

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